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May 13, 2024

The Cavalier's Voice

By Peter Balaskas


Sunday, March 31, 2375



Manufacture Model Type: Pythagorean Robotic Industries

Editorial Staff Member for the Times


The following commentary does not reflect the opinions of this periodical or its investors.

The Two Hundred-Year Itch

My original article for this week was going to be about the usual happenings and goings-on around our lovely, blissful world of Andracar. All of you know what I'm talking about: the government's vigilant efforts in our society's progress, the phenomenal, almost heaven-like weather, the peaceful and orderly communities, with an occasional blurb about various non-threatening protests by the Carbons. Not much controversial fodder for someone who was used to delving into every sort of scandal and conspiracy that came about, before or even after The Great Change.

But believe it or not, the impossible has happened: for the first time since our evolution, since we abandoned the frailties of the flesh for our impervious exodermic shells, I felt an itch on my arm.

It occurred on a normal workday here at the Times' offices. I just finished making arrangements to interview a Carbon sports figure when I felt an itch on my upper right appendage. It has been two hundred years since I emerged from the Capital Center as a member of The Evolved, with a body guaranteed to be three things: sleek, silver, and -- most importantly -- safe. I shouldn't be feeling anything. So all of you can understand how this caused me great concern. I immediately went to the medical center and I was relieved when the diagnostics came back clear. They theorized it might have been a minor synapse embolism that lay dormant within my brain until a random stimulus awakened it from its slumber. "But for two hundred years?" I asked.

The Senior Physician just shrugged his mirror-like shoulders and answered quite glibly, "It happens."

When I asked him how often "it" happens and I requested the statistics on this matter, he responded that the material was classified. But I dug deeper and discovered that mine was the only such occurrence.

"It happens." Well, I have to admit, "it" actually felt good. It may have been only an itch, but it reminded me of something I forgot a long time ago. A time when even a casual, harmless graze along the skin can create a memory, a memory which would linger for a lifetime, or maybe for only two hundred years. Yes, before The Great Change, it was a different time for us all.

But was it a better time? Absolutely not. I never regretted my decision. Longevity. What is so bad about that? Yes, we did sacrifice our unique, individual physical features for uniformity, but it is a small price to pay for the survival of our race. And let us not forget the problem of overpopulation. Why procreate when the harmony of our society is perfectly acceptable at our present number? Why fix something that isn't broken?

However, the sensations I used to feel -- touch, smell, taste ... do I actually miss them? Maybe I should hold a survey. I call out to all my readers out there: do you miss being human or not? I'll print the final results next week.

* * *


Sunday, April 6, 2375



Manufacture Model Type: Pythagorean Robotic Industries

Editorial Staff Member for the Times


The following commentary does not reflect the opinions of this periodical or its investors.


In my years as a reporter, and now an editorial columnist, the one crime that has always dumbfounded me is apathy. Yes, folks, it is a crime. I wrote a very provocative article regarding possible side-effects to The Great Change, much to my editor's dismay; and I even called out to my readers for a survey as to how many of you miss being human. Total response: zilch, much to my editor's pleasure. Ah, evil, thy weapon is apathy.

And it was apathy I witnessed after I finished my interview with a Carbon sports player at the Garden City National Park. As he left, I had a sudden urge to do something new, something spontaneous. So, I decided to take a stroll through one of the expansive scenic paths this place had to offer. It reminded me of our parent planet, Earth. Finely manicured lawns, titan-sized trees, blossoming flowers, calm cerulean ponds and the sun blanketing the world. But the sight that caught my sensors the most was the activities of the Carbons. Family picnics, adolescent games, couples embracing. Typical behavior. Of course, none of the Evolved was present except for myself. But I did remember that I used to partake in these actions before I was transformed. I used to enjoy the dynamics of either playing in a variety of sports, with bitter sweat pouring down my face, or savor the placid contentment of my solitude, absorbing the pleasures of the day.

It was during my reminiscence that I discovered the source of this aforementioned apathy: myself. As an evolved being, I should have been able to enjoy the signs of life around me as I did two centuries ago. But I felt nothing, a simple emotional void. And this troubled me.

But what troubled me even more were the cold stares from various adults in the park. It was understandable; the park was one of the very few places Carbons were allowed to congregate. For someone like myself to be there was considered an intrusion. Still, I felt persecuted walking through that park, which is open to both Carbons and the Evolved. I know the Society to Free Humanity (S.F.H.) has been negotiating for more rights and privileges, but the discussions have always been civil. No hostility of any kind. At least, not on the surface.

The athlete I interviewed invited me to his family's ranch, and then to see him play in a tournament. He read my article regarding my "itch" and suggested I should spend a day with his family. He felt the experience would not only add more to the article, but also help me, and hopefully my readers, to remember what it was like to be human. At first, I found it unnecessary and I politely refused. However, as more Carbons stared at me with such loathing, I immediately contacted him and accepted his offer. I shared with him my experiences in the park and he recommended that I compose a "historical survey" for this article. I inquired for specifics, and he responded that I would understand in due time.

And I soon did. After all, what is so wrong about reminiscing about the past? I want all of you to share with me all you know about The Great Change. Only two hundred years have gone by. I should get considerably more feedback than my previous attempt. I look forward to reading your responses.

* * *


Sunday, April 13, 2375



Manufacture Model Type: Pythagorean Robotic Industries

Editorial Staff Member for the Times


The following commentary does not reflect the opinions of this periodical or its investors.

Beginnings of Devolution

Last week, I made a request: share with me everything you know about The Great Change. Unlike the previous survey, where I received no response, I was actually deluged with answers regarding your knowledge about this topic. I should be elated, but I'm not.

"The Great Change was our salvation from the decrepitude of the inferior flesh. By achieving this superior state, we have reached perfection. Those that are unevolved must be restricted."

That was it. Each and every one of you has given me this response. To the very letter. I felt as though I was hearing an inept, lobotomized Greek Chorus calling out to me in their mantra of apathy. None of you have given me any facts. None of you have even remarked about the Carbons, those of the "unevolved." And after spending a day with an "unevolved" family, and finally discovering what restrictions have been enforced ...

I have been playing it safe, and I blame The Great Change for this. No, I blame myself. When I was still human, I reported an injustice by using the talents I was born with in order to somehow create a chain reaction of events that would lead to a solution. To put it simply: for justice to be served. But I have been blind since our "evolution." And after what I had experienced this past week, I realized that I had been blind to a certain injustice for too long and it is time to bring it to your attention, whether you will like it or not.

Now, I strongly suggest all of you read the following definition. I mean REALLY READ IT. And then read it again until it penetrates the protected shell casings that surround your brains, those pieces of matter which are submerged in their own opiate fluids.

Evolution: 1) A process of continuous change from a lower, simpler or worse to a higher, more complex or better state: growth; 2) A process of gradual and relatively peaceful social, political and economical advance.

Now that we're on the subject of evolution, allow me to share the wealth of my opinion; that is what this section in The Times is supposed to be about, right? I am a strong believer that if a race physically evolves, its mental and, most appropriately, emotional facets should follow as well. As previously stated, evolution is a necessity for growth, and especially for survival. With regard to our society here on Andracar, the specific emotional aspect that is in question right now is tolerance.

In case there are those who have conveniently forgotten, here is a little history lesson, a reminder of who we truly are. Call it expository, call it a polemic. Both may be correct labels, but both have a wonderful way of cutting through the rhetorical excrement. The following is the accurate response you should have given me during my latest survey.

Ever since our home planet of Andracar was discovered and colonized by Earth on 2101, a new hope emerged that our fledgling society would grow beyond all forms of evil --greed, envy, rage ... all of you know your Seven Deadly Sins. Or perhaps you don't. The goal of our society was simple expansion, to explore and colonize various systems in our galaxy so our culture could grow in numerous ways. For many years, our community has prospered on this planet and our future as a peaceful, civilized community looked promising.

Then came 2175: the year of the Great Change. The year most of us decided to improve ourselves, to sacrifice our imperfections for perfection. The year we "evolved".

But there was indeed an imperfection, one that has been kept hidden for two hundred years. In the process of evolving, those of us that were transformed were, in actuality, devolving. And the source of this devolution is a specific type of prejudice against those few individuals who chose not to conform within our commonwealth.

One man in particular that is worthy of distinction, a man who for the past week I had the pleasure to know, is Patrick "The Cavalier" Cavanaugh.

In the eyes of our society, Cavanaugh is considered as a "normal, unremarkable, human being." He is not a groundbreaking scientist. He is not a political-savvy statesman. He is not even a soldier in our Armed Forces. Born December 25, 2342 to Nicholas and Sarah Cavanaugh, little Patrick showed no indications of any outstanding characteristics during his young life. His academic records were average and he possessed no special abilities or talents other than his dedication to cultivate his family farm, which has been profitable ever since Nicholas purchased his property twenty years before Patrick's birth.

However, at the age of twelve, an unearthly talent for a particular activity was created within this young man, a talent which earned him prestige at his school and a full athletic scholarship at the University of Andracar, resulting in a guaranteed career and promising future. In the eyes of the remaining human minority, Cavanaugh is a hero. Yet, in our society's eyes, the majority, he is simply a sub-person who is partaking in a sport fit only for The Evolved.

That activity is baseball.

When I first met Cavanaugh a week ago -- standing at five feet, nine inches tall, with sky-blue eyes, short red hair and a sly, boyish grin -- I discovered that his presence was far from unremarkable. I was introduced to a symbol of modesty, silent dignity, and an inner strength. The humble, quiet Everyman, a person you cannot help but be drawn to.

And as far as his talent is concerned ... to put it simply, he is not just a baseball player; he is a phenomenal baseball player.

Presently, he is a shortstop for the Minor League franchise, the Garden City Angels. He is the all-time leader in hits and home runs and his fielding is superior to many of the players in our own Major League. And I do have to say that he is the friendliest man I have ever met. His wife, Stephanie, is a warm and extremely beautiful woman, exhibiting a type of undying loyalty and tenacity that could conquer any adversity. His two sons, William and Patrick Jr., are energetic and adorable, oblivious to the discrimination they face. And I could tell by looking into their eyes -- those innocent, hopeful eyes -- that their potential for success is fueled by their parents' love and inspiration. After spending time with them for only one day, I couldn't believe how much I was affected by their welcoming presence. They didn't see me as a member of The Evolved. They saw me as their guest.

However, Cavanaugh faces one obstacle -- one outdated, almost hateful obstacle -- that has kept him from the Major Leagues here on this supposedly civilized planet of Andracar: our society's intolerance for people like Cavanaugh. His excellent athletic abilities and qualifications should earn him, and many others like him, a place in any Major League team. Our society has kept baseball alive because of its basic fundamental joys of competition and good-natured fun. Both the spectators, and especially the players, should experience this recreation. All players.

Baseball is more than a game; it is an important piece of nostalgia embodying those unique, undying qualities of strength and spirit that compose the human race and its evolution. Indeed, this sport represents one of the universal constants that has remained with us for generations. And senses do come alive for all who partake in this pastime. The feel of the ball, the smell of the dirt on the diamond, the surge of adrenaline when watching a runner slide into home plate, the sharp "whack" of the bat hitting the ball, and the sounds of joy when our home team wins. But my favorite sight is watching a family gathering at one of these games. Imagine: loving families escaping from the mundane routine of the professional world and the electronic, saccharine placebo we call tele-media entertainment. When these families do escape, they breathe in the fresh air of the outdoors and feel the warmth of the sun on their faces. Even those of us who have rid ourselves of the human flesh, the sight -- the glorious vision -- of that sun blessing the planet with its divine glow brings joy and peace within one's soul. As the families arrive at the ballparks, you could hear the laughter and delight radiating from them and you smile, knowing that a powerful, yet benevolent bug called happiness is slowly infecting you, even evolved beings such as ourselves. Hours upon hours of solid, unconditional love, building a foundation of personal growth for the family unit; all of this, created by watching a simple baseball game.

This illustration I have just described proves that Cavanaugh is fighting for more than a right to play our game. His is a fight to maintain one's identity as a race. No matter what kind of person you are, everybody on this world should share in this pastime. But the Major League Association and all of the franchise owners refused membership for people like Cavanaugh, limiting them to the "humans only" mandate of the Minor League.

All because he is of an "inferior race."

There is another quality I admire about Cavanaugh: pride. No, not pride, the deadly sin. I am referring to pride in one's own individuality. Humans like him refused the right to join us in The Great Change. It was their decision to retain their humanity and they are being punished for it. This discrimination must end.

Baseball is not the only problem. Humans like Cavanaugh are being forbidden to partake in all major sports, creating a type of segregation that will seep into other avenues of interest: art, education, science, and eventually, all other professions and interests in our society. They are even isolated in local public areas, such as the Garden City National Park I visited a week ago. And there are now rumors that within the next few months, "population control" policies will be implemented on the humans. Our present administration has even permitted the use of a derogatory slur "Carbons" in order to classify this minority. I am ashamed to admit that I went along with this sickening trend. When faced with this matter, our government assured us that all forms of segregation have not occurred on Andracar.

But what is happening to people like Cavanaugh proves otherwise.

The basic freedom of choice we supposedly brought with us from Earth is being sacrificed for a type of elitism which corrupts the basic goodness that we, as a race, have. And if we ever have a chance to fully evolve to the next level of existence, humans should be allowed the same rights and privileges as ourselves. "The Improved." "The Evolved."

Recently, Cavanaugh has been lobbying tirelessly to abolish this type of discrimination. So far, he has been unsuccessful. Yet, he maintains his hope. He has to in order to succeed for his people. And I -- a self-proclaimed cynic -- strongly believe that his cause will triumph in the end. In fact, in a couple of days, I'm actually going to attend another baseball game that features The Cavalier. Maybe other members of The Evolved who read this article might actually join me in the stands, proving there is hope for us to truly evolve as a race. Not everyone in our society has fallen to deaf ears and turned ethically blind to this corruption. I was expecting my editors to censor my message of reason. Have my fellow staff members realized, and even acknowledged, the importance of this man's crusade? I hope so. Cavanaugh and many others like him are people of strength and integrity. Martin Luther King, Jr. of 20th Century Earth once declared, "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."

Men like Patrick "The Cavalier" Cavanaugh.

* * *


Headline News

Saturday, April 19, 2375

Renowned Journalist Found Murdered

Frank 101, well known novelist and staff writer for The Andracar Times, was found dismembered in front of the Garden City Police Station early Friday morning. The attending physician, who inspected 101's brain, concluded the writer had been deceased for at least three hours and that he was a victim of foul play.

Also found was the body of Patrick Cavanaugh, a Carbon baseball player for the Minor League franchise, the Garden City Angels. On April 15th, Cavanaugh had led the Angels to win the World Championship against the Tamerlayne Titans, 10-7. Examination of his remains indicates he had died from multiple stab wounds and that he was killed at the same time as Frank 101.

101 was admired and well respected not only for his fiction writing and his journalistic abilities, but also for his unwavering bravery regarding any cause he believed in. Last Sunday, 101's editorial concerning The Great Change drew strong criticism from his peers and death threats from his readers because of its negative connotations. According to sources within the Garden City Police Department, there are no suspects.

A spokesperson from the Minor League Association has announced a memorial service will be held for both 101 and Cavanaugh Sunday morning during the Easter Celebration at the Garden City Arena. Key representatives for the Society to Free Humanity (S.F.H.) announced that what happened to Cavanaugh and 101 will not undermine their battle against the discrimination of the Andraconian population who refused biological evolution. A member who requested to be anonymous announced, "These murders have only fueled our fight against the hatred that exists in our society. Cavanaugh's determination and 101's valor will always be kept alive. Their voices may have been muted, but their messages will never be silent. During this Memorial Service, their spirits will rise again in their unlimited glory!"

However, this incident has caused an emotional upheaval among all communities within the Evolved population. 101 was the first death to occur ever since The Great Change two hundred years ago, a death caused by his own people, which is unheard of. In a survey held by The Times, 95% of all the Evolved believed that if the controversy regarding Carbon Rights is going to result in more instances of violence, then new mandates must be passed to enforce Martial Law on the Carbons.

Representatives from the Major League Association, as well as a spokesperson from the Andraconian government, were unavailable for comment.

* * *


Headline News

Monday, April 21, 2375

Journalist 101 Missing

Law Enforcement officials have revealed that the remains of journalist Frank 101 have been stolen sometime yesterday morning. Although there were no witnesses, a representative from the Andraconian Violent Crimes Bureau has indicated the surveillance system on three floors of the Garden City Police Department had been inactive between the hours of 7:00 and 9:00 AM, due to an unusual power blackout. One of those floors in which the blackout occurred contained the morgue where the remains of 101 were being held. The body of Carbon Minor League baseball player Patrick "The Cavalier" Cavanaugh is missing as well.

For the last several months, Cavanaugh had been a prominent advocate for Carbons Rights in Major League Baseball. Frank 101 had written a scathing editorial regarding the treatment of the Carbons. Both were found murdered near the Garden City Police Station three days ago.

Two hours after discovering the theft, Andraconian police immediately cancelled the scheduled Memorial Mass at the Garden City Arena, and escorted Cavanaugh's wife, Stephanie, and their children to the Capital Headquarters for questioning. This action resulted in a riot from all of the attendees, especially from members of the Society to Free Humanity (S.F.H.). As the violence escalated, the Andraconian Riot Squad was deployed and immediately subdued all rioters that were still present at the arena. Twenty members of the S.F.H. were arrested for destruction of property and assaulting law enforcement officers.

After Cavanaugh's wife and two children -- Patrick Jr. and William -- were interrogated for three hours, the truth serums and lie detectors proved that none were involved with the theft of the corpses. However, after leaving the police station, Stephanie Cavanaugh revealed during a press conference that she had seen her husband that morning before she left for the memorial service. She commented, appearing quite calm and lucid, "After I woke up, I saw him at the foot of my bed. He was lit by the sunlight that came through my window. I only saw his face; the rest of his body was composed of a pure, white light. He said, 'I will always be with you. All shall hear my voice very soon.' I blinked, and he was gone." With regard to these statements, representatives of the Andraconian Law Enforcement Agency issued a statement, indicating, "Stephanie Cavanaugh is suffering from delusions brought about by traumatic grief."

In the meantime, the search for the remains of Frank 101 and Patrick Cavanaugh continues.

* * *

Monday, April 23, 2375 -- Channel 15

I must apologize for interrupting this broadcast, but I'm afraid that what I have to say is of paramount importance. Don't even bother changing channels; all programming is blocked out. If the central satellite is shut down, I will broadcast directly through your communication receivers.

Ah, the glory of our evolution. All of Andracar knows me as Frank 101. But before our monumental evolution, before "The Great Change," I was Franklyn Armstrong, writer extraordinaire. Novels, plays, award winning journalism ... God, I was good back then, before and after my evolution. I created memorable stories and wrote journalistic exposés revealing every injustice, every wrong. My written words were my voice; and all listened to what I had to say. I evolved because I only wanted to be better than who I was, to live to my fullest potential, to tell the stories that needed to be told. I always thought if we lived longer, where we actually dared to think of ourselves as immortal, we could still retain our humanity. It wasn't until after I died that I realized how unbelievably naïve I was. Oh yes, I died. Killed by my own fellow "evolved" citizens of Andracar. Hearing their metallic laughter as they beat me and stabbed poor Patrick ...

Patrick died as well; but he rose again.

I was in the void until I saw the green tinted light of the morgue; it brightened, pulsating with life. I then saw him hovering over me, with his hand on my head. Even through my metallic shell, I actually felt him, almost similar to when I felt my arm itch for the first time in two hundred years. We both floated in space and a bright golden flash surrounded us. We were no longer at the morgue. We traveled to ... well, I'm afraid I cannot reveal my location. Before he left me, he said to continue the fight, to reveal the truth of this hatred, to be his voice. I asked him how; he only smiled and faded away. His light vanished, but another kind of luminance glimmered to life within my "evolved shell." I felt my soul again. And when the glow erupted into fire, I then knew what I had to do.

I was blind, but now I can see.

You were deaf, but now you will listen.

I am a writer, blessed with a talent to transfer my voice onto paper for people to read. Now, I can't write anymore. No one will read what I have to say. So, I am simply choosing a different medium. All of you are hearing it right now. My savior's voice will speak through my enhanced vocal chords, which will be broadcast throughout all communication relays, especially those you have inside your heads. No matter how many times you change the frequencies, or even upgrade your systems, all evolved people of Andracar shall hear our constant, endless pleas for equality. I will not discriminate; from the average citizen to the ruler of the planet, we will be heard, over and over and over again.

In time, our words will bring about reason. This time, we will not be silenced. Andracar's time has finally begun.

Article © Peter Balaskas. All rights reserved.
Published on 2012-04-23
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